Damsons & Greengages



Healthy Mess

I hadn’t used my juicer for a while, so I’ll blame the mess on that rather than my own stupidity. Because I put what I thought was the jug for collecting the juice in place and enthusiastically got going.  It was once the liquid starting spilling off the worktop and onto the floor that I realised my mistake.  What I had carefully positioned was actually the jug for collecting the pulp.  All the action was going on the other end.  There was deep red juice flowing freely with nothing to underneath to catch it.

All was not lost though, I realised my mistake in time to collect two servings of juice from the last of my homegrown beetroots (photos from a while ago, never got round to posting).  The idea was to combine it with apple, but by the time I’d got the mess cleared up I’d had my fill of juicing for the foreseeable future!

Two Soups

It’s that time of year again – one soup was made with Jerusalem artichokes from my allotment, the other with pumpkin from my father’s.  Here‘s the sunchoke soup recipe – it’s the first time I’ve tried it, was very happy with the results.

For the Pumpkin Soup I made it up as went along…


Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

And here’s a small selection of my dad’s bountiful harvest – photo courtesy of my sister
(thanks Vicky!)


Off the Grapevine

Like last year, it was a full-moon harvest. Unlike last year, I didn’t bother with netting. Still ended up with 21 kgs of grapes though. So it turns out there was more than enough to go round for both me and the local wood pigeons.

I’ve now got just under 4 gallons on the go in the fermentation bin. Once the pips and skins get strained off I’m expecting to have around 3 gallons for a slower fermentation in the demijohns. Which, I’m pleased to say, should mean around 18 bottles of organic, sulphite-free wine to look forward to.

Butternut Squash & Celery Soup

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut' 3

In my rush to get started I didn’t think of taking a picture of the squash before chopping it up.  So the fine specimen above is courtesy of Wikipedia.



Onion, 1, medium sized, chopped

Garlic, 2 cloves finely chopped

Butternut Squash, diced

Celery, 3 stalks, chopped

Vegetable Broth, 1 litre

Knob of Butter

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Rosemary & Thyme



Fry the garlic and onion till soft, add the herbs and fry for a bit longer.  Throw in the celery, then the butternut squash and fry for a further ten minutes or so.  Slowly add the broth, season, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

I went for ‘rustic’ this time and just served it as it was with some fresh parsley.  Alternatively, it could be blended then served with a dash of cream.

Serves 4.


BBQ Chicken Skewers

We had a barbecue at the allotment last week, the day after the wettest, greyest day in August. It was actually lovely weather, just for that one day.  In the days after there were a full-on torrential storms.

I decided to skewer some chicken for it, something I haven’t done in a while.  The diced chicken breast got marinated in olive oil, salt and pepper, nothing too fancy. The courgette was grown by my allotment neighbour Mark (my own courgettes didn’t fare too well after having been doused in too much anti-black-fly Fairy Liquid).

And although I am growing bell peppers myself, the ones in the pictures come courtesy of Sainsbury’s.